SF Weekly first reported that the San Francisco Giants would become the first professional sports team to produce an iconic "It Gets Better" video. Today, the World Series champs released a short video aimed to curb LGBT bullying and teen suicides.
The roughly 60-second clip begins with Giants pitcher Barry Zito saying he knows how difficult life can be when you're a teen. "We speak for the entire Giants organization when we say there is so place for hatred and bullying against anyone," Zito says.
Giants pitchers Matt Cain and Sergio Romo talk about the pressures of trying to be accepted by peers. "It's particularly challenging for LGBT teens, who face adversity and intolerance in their daily lives," Cain says.
The video came after fan Sean Chapin started a petition at Change.org, asking the Giants to be the first professional sports team to join the It Gets Better project, started last year by Dan Savage as a way to encourage LGBT teens who are struggling.
The project was started after a wave of LGBT suicides across the nation. Since then, thousands of ordinary people, celebrities, and politicians have made videos to tell LGBT youth that it gets better.
But as Chapin noted, homophobia is still deeply entrenched in sports. At the same time, kids look up to these players. A team making such a video would be a watershed moment for professional sports as well as LGBT teens.
More than 6,000 people signed on to Chapin's petition. The Giants responded swiftly, telling SF Weekly they planned to make a video sooner than later. It became more relevant after the three-game series against the Atlanta Braves, where the Braves' pitching coach, Roger McDowell, accosted a group of men at AT&T Park, asking them if they were "homos." He then used his bat to simulate gay sex in front of the men's daughters. He was suspended for a few weeks, and profusely apologized to the men as well as the San Francisco community.
After the Giants confirmed they would make an "It Gets Better" video, Change.org, a local activist platform, turned to the Braves, demanding they and other Major League Baseball teams follow suit. In the last 24 hours, more than 5,000 young Red Sox fans have signed a petition asking the Boston team to create a video. It was started by 12-year-old Sam Maden, in honor of his late uncle, who had worked with LGBT youth but died suddenly this year. "Uncle Chris knew how much I love the Red Sox, and I think he would have been thrilled with the team making an 'It Gets Better' video to support kids," Maden says.
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